Thursday News, September 6
Gehlen and Spalding Looking At Merging High Schools
(Le Mars) -- A joint announcement was made Wednesday evening by the Gehlen Catholic Board of Education and the Spalding Catholic Board of Education that the two schools are looking at the unification of the high schools to become one Catholic High School serving northwest Iowa. Brian Kohlbeck, the president of Gehlen Catholic School board, told the 300 plus people at the Reardon Family Gymnasium that a final decision has not yet been made, and in fact both school boards want to hear comments from each community. Although Gehlen's enrollment has held steady, or has increased during the past few years, Spalding Catholic's enrollment has been on the decline. Spalding Catholic's school board member, Dennis Schmit told the crowd that Spalding's total enrollment for 2012 K-12 was at 167 students, with the high school enrollment at 70 students. The unification would only involve the two high schools, and it is hoped that Spalding Catholic will be able to focus their resources and attention to their various grade schools located at Hospers, and Alton. Father Kevin Richter, a 1979 graduate of Spalding Catholic high school, says the decision is an emotional decision.
The reaction of the crowd was quiet upon hearing the announcement. Richter says the decision to have Spalding Catholic merge their high school with Gehlen High School was a decision that many may have thought would come at some point.
Richter says it is possible that some students may choose to attend Remsen St. Mary's High School due to the distance factor.
The time table includes meetings twice a month between September 19 and November 14. On October 17 there will be a joint open meeting at Spalding, and then another joint open meeting scheduled for Gehlen Catholic on November 7th. A draft summary is to be presented to Bishop Nicklass on December 15th and the implementation would begin during the fall of 2013. The two schools are already sharing football programs, and Father Richter says students, parents, and the two communities have adjusted well to the shared program. He says that may serve as a precurser to the unification of the high schools. Richter emphasized the ultimate decision to combine the high schools will be left to both respective school boards.
Mitt Romney To Appear At Orange City On Friday
(Orange City) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will hold a rally in Orange City at Northwestern College on Friday at 12:00 noon at Northwestern College's Bultman Center gym. Tickets are required and available free at the Northwestern College Rowenhorst Student Center front desk starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, September 5th. Doors will open for Friday's event at 9:00 a.m. and guests should enter through the Bulman Center's main doors and allow enough time to pass through security before entering the arena.
Knights of Columbus Raise $53,000 For Mentally Challenged
(Le Mars) -- $53,000. That's how much money was raised this year by the Knights of Columbus clubs of Plymouth County during Wednesday's phone-a-thon for the mentally challenged. The total exceeded the goal by more than $5,000. Coordinators were thankful for the generous contributions from Plymouth County residents. Dr. Jeremy Bollin says the money raised stays in Plymouth County.
Chad Dreckman says people can still donate to the cause if they hadn't already done so.
Iowa Lands Egypt Fertilizer Company
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has landed a much sought after $1.4 billion fertilizer plant.
Gov. Terry Branstad and Orascom Construction Industries executives say the company has chosen Iowa over Illinois as the location for the plant.
The state economic development board earlier in the day approved more than $110 million in tax breaks and other incentives for the company based in Cairo, Egypt. It will create a subsidiary called
Iowa Fertilizer Co. to run the Iowa fertilizer operation to be built in southeast Iowa.
A Lee County agreement offers tax benefits worth about $130 million over 20 years.
The project is the largest single capital investment ever in Iowa.
Critics of the project say government is spending too much for 165 jobs.
The plant will make fertilizer to sell to Midwest farmers.
Iowa and Iowa State Both Have Increased Enrollments
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa and Iowa State University are reporting record enrollment this fall, while the University of Northern Iowa is posting a decrease.
Official enrollment figures released Wednesday show both Iowa and Iowa State surpassed 31,000 students.
Iowa State fell short in surpassing Iowa, but ISU narrowed the gap as its enrollment has jumped 21 percent since 2006. Iowa's enrollment grew by 5 percent during the same time.
Over 12,700 students have enrolled at Northern Iowa this fall, a seven percent decrease.
UNI officials say the dip is because of a large graduating class in the spring and a drop in the number of Iowa high school graduates. More than 90 percent of UNI students are from Iowa,
which is significantly higher than at Iowa and Iowa State.